Despite huge advances in sexual equality there are still many things that women do which make it harder for them to succeed. Some of the simplest things can make a difference to the way a woman is perceived in the workplace and undermine all your hard work. Believe it or not, some women have great public speaking potential. But then again, we’re talking about a skill that takes years to develop. Use these five tips to improve your public speaking skills, your confidence and the impression you make:
- Choose your words carefully
One of the mist common mistakes many women make when trying to communicate their ideas is to say ‘just’ or ‘actually’. Including the word ‘actually’ in your statement often relays a surprise that you have something to say; when this is not the case. In effect you are being defensive about your right to speak; you have no need to be! ‘Just’ has a similar effect. It effectively says you have had an afterthought, not something to seriously consider. Be bold and ask your question directly; you will be surprised at the response!
Never introduce your topic, question or project idea with a time limit. Stating that you will just take a minute puts you under pressure to deliver the required idea within that time frame. Additionally, using a phrase such as ‘I’d like to take a minute to tell you’ implies that you are apologetic about taking their time. It may even suggest you don’t think your idea is of much merit. Simply tell them you are going to share an idea; they will listen and probably be amazed at how brilliant it is!
One of the worst things you can do is phrase your sentence as a question. You are not asking someone a question, you are telling them your idea, discussing a subject or even passing on valuable information. By making it sound like a question others will see it as an idea that has popped into your head and not something to be entertained. If it is said as a statement, they will assume you know what you are talking about and be interested in the facts behind the statement.
The same is true in reverse, if you have a question state it as a question and not as though it could be a statement. Make sure people know what you expect from them; you may be surprised at his well they respond.
- Don’t rush!
It is very common for anyone nervous about speaking in front of others to rush their words. This will make it difficult for others to follow what you are talking about and make it very easy for you to digress from your intended topic. The secret is to pause often, use the pauses to collect your thoughts and to ensure the audience has the opportunity to take in your words. A pause can provide you with an emphasis to your words; forcing people to take them and you seriously.
- Be yourself
The first reason to be yourself is that you are more likely to be comfortable and confident speaking when you do not have to think about being something that you are not! It is also important as you will come across naturally and this will help people to emphasize and believe in you, as well as what you are saying. Being yourself also allows those who already know you to see the real, you and relate to you; if they cannot see this they may be confused and will certainly spend more time considering this than your words!
Building your confidence is a case of taking one step at a time. Focus on your words and sentences or statements first, the confidence you will get from the improved responses will inspire you to follow up with the other tips. It can be tough for women to make themselves heard; but it’s not something unattainable. Be smart when walking on a stage and make your presentation stand out somehow by reading about book keynote speakers in advance. Focus on the facts; showcase a confident attitude and don’t let emotions interfere. The more professional you sound the better chances you have to make yourself heard.
By Alfred Stallion and LondonSpeakerBureau.com!